Review: Greywolf Golf Course

Information

  • Panorama, British Columbia
  • Public – Daily Fee
  • Doug Carrick (1999)
  • 15th in Canada (ScoreGolf)

Greywolf is among the handful of the most photographed courses in Canada. Silvertip in Canmore, Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia, Banff in Banff, and Greywolf, thanks in part to its famous “cliffhanger” par 3, 6th. Normally, when one hole that gets so much attention the rest of the course lacks (especially in BC), however, Greywolf is a great track with a lot of really good holes, making it among the best in Western Canada.

The first hole is just a mid length par 4, only at 404 yards. Like a lot of the holes at Greywolf, the shorter ones are straight up the slope, while the longer holes play down. The first starts that pattern, playing up the slope and to the left.

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The first tee shot at Greywolf

A creek guards the left side of the hole before cutting across the fairway at about 310 yards. Two bunkers are on the outside corner of the dogleg to catch those really poor shots everyone has on the first tee. You get to the first green and you’re like “wow, elevation change” looking down, but it’s nothing compared to what’s to come.

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Looking down the 1st with the green for the par 3, 9th in the background

The 2nd was fairly forgettable. Only 390, it plays straight up the hill as well. Two bunkers left side fairway aren’t in play, while a bunker short right of the green is massive, so avoid that.

The third is maybe my favorite hole on the course, although I could pick any hole from 3-6 and it would be a contender. Still going up the mountain, this short par 5 measures only 515 yards. However, difficulty awaits, with a creek running up the left and two bunkers right in the driving zone.

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Once you navigate this cape tee shot, you’re looking straight up and just a wall of bunkering.

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What I loved about this hole is there’s two bunkers right, which you can see above are closer, and three bunkers greenside. From the fairway about 240 out, they all blend together, something Stanley Thompson was famous for (and Carrick is a big fan of Thompson).

After what feels like forever climbing up the slope, you finally get relief at the 490 yard, downhill par 4, 4th. This is a great tee shot to let it all unwind. If I remember correctly, everyone in my group flew it over 350 yards, thanks in part to elevation and the downhill nature of the hole. It’s honestly a driver wedge, regardless of what the card says.

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The 5th is another really, really good par 5. 570 yards and tumbling down the mountainside, this is gettable in two. Once you navigate the tee shot that has four bunkers (2 left, 2 right, neither really comes into play but they’re visually intimidating), you’re faced with a shot over a creek running diagonal from the right to the green. Everyone has to cross the stream, whether you lay up or go for it, but it depends on how aggressive you want to be. If you can hit a high draw with a long iron, that’s the play! Below is a view of the second shot and a different view of the creek.

 

 

 

 

The 6th is the hole everyone shows up for. Nicknamed “cliffhanger,” this 200 yard par 3 plays to a peninsula green.

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I really loved the 7th, too, although some mind find it underwhelming following the 6th. 420 on the card, the tee shot is generous, but the green complex features some lovely bunkering moving from the centre of the fairway at about 70 yards out all the way up the right side of the green.

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I felt like the 8th wasn’t as enjoyable as the first seven holes. It’s a fairly weird hole, with big trees lining the entire right side of the hole. It’s a pretty sharp dogleg right par 4, playing 446 yards. There’s only one bunker short right of the green.

The 9th is the most artificial hole on the course. I felt like 17 other holes on the course blend into the natural terrain and suited the landscape, but the 181 yard, par 3 9th plays over a man-made pond with condos long-left.

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The 10th is a beautiful long 5 at 580 yards. The tee shot bends slightly to the left around two ponds. Bunkering on the outside corner of the dogleg make this a fairly difficult tee shot that demands your respect.

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The approach plays to a green angled from front right to back left, with bunkering short left. It almost feels like a slightly less aggressive redan style green.

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The 11th was weird. I love a good short par 4 that’s drivable, and I’d say this hole is a fairly good hole, but it’s just interesting. The fairway contours and the downhill nature of the tee shot feel like you’d need to play it at least twice to get a feeling of the hole. A pond left guards the green, while four bunkers are in the layup zone.

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The crazy par 4, 11th makes you pick a side of the fairway when laying up

The 12th is a fantastic, natural golf hole. 180 yards, playing down the hill to an infinity green. Featuring only one bunker short right, the hole relies on the natural topography to create interest. The green complex here is fantastic, as well.

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Our twilight round started to get a little dark by the time of the par 3, 12th

The 13th is a very difficult tee shot. At 441 yards, this hole doglegs right significantly around a massive bunker that’s 230 to carry.

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The best play is 3 wood off the tee so you don’t go through the fairway. Take it up the right with a little fade leaves you a mid iron in.

The 14th is a spectacular par 5. I actually think the par 5’s at Greywolf are all amazing, and feature a lot of risk-reward. There’s also good variety, as two dogleg left, one to the right, and one fairly straight. The 14th plays 527 yards, with two bunkers that look like they’re in the driving zone but are there for pure visual intimidation. At this point of the round it started to get fairly dark, so the picture quality isn’t the best.

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Hitting a cut over the middle bunker and finishing on the right bunker is the ideal play at the par 5, 14th

The approach to the 14th is also special. With a long iron, hybrid or wood in hand, the hole takes a turn and plays uphill significantly. Bunkering hugs the left side of the hole from about 100 yards out all the way to the green.

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Missing right will help the ball kick towards the green, left

The 15th is another par 3 over a pond, but unlike the 9th, this feels very natural (I think the pond was there prior to the course, or at least it’s indistinguishable). It’s a fairly straightforward 176 yard par 3, so take enough club to get over the pond and you’re home free.

The 16th is a really, really good short par 4. Only 390 yards, playing slightly downhill, this hole is a sharp dogleg right. The play is a long iron off the tee at the middle bunker which leaves a wedge. I wish I would’ve got a different angle of this tee shot cause the bunkering on the inside corner is spectacular.

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The tee shot at the par 4, 16th

The approach plays to a cool green as well, fronted by two bunkers short left.

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The 17th is a very difficult par 4, but doesn’t play too long at 450 yards or so. The hole doglegs hard to the left, with three bunkering through the fairway at 295 yards off the tee.

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The player is either forced to hit a draw or take less club off the tee and hit it to the corner of the dogleg at the 17th

The approach plays slightly downhill as well, with the natural topography tumbling towards the green complex.

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The 18th was fairly disappointing. The 447 yard, uphill par 4 plays to a massive fairway with two bunkers right and two bunkers short left. There’s so much room on this hole that neither truly comes into play unless you hit fairly poor shots. For such a challenging and smart golf course, the 18th felt like a lazy climb back to the clubhouse. Below is a look at the tee shot, left, and the approach, right.

 

After finishing the round, you’re left with satisfaction. Greywolf is a fantastic golf course, no doubt. It’s visually interesting in spots, and challenging in others. There’s birdie holes, and there’s tough par holes. It’s a very good mountain course that I would say is among the must plays in the Canadian Rockies, next to Banff and Jasper. People will come for the par 3, 6th, but the rest of the course is also very good. If you’re ever within the area, or anywhere close (we drove 5 hours to play Greywolf that afternoon!), take the chance, it’s a home run that’s worth every hour of driving and every dollar.

 

 

 

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